Internet of Things
Re-evaluating the need for 'I' in IoT
- By Ben Berliner
- Jul 26, 2017
There are expected to be 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, but researchers don't have a useful way to describe and categorize elements of the internet of things.
Jeffrey Voas, a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said the phrase "network of things" offers a better way to understand connected devices and their security challenges. NoT describes a connected system -- whether the "things" communicate only with internal networks or the internet.
"You can have a network of things without the internet," Voas said at the July 25 Connected Government event hosted by FCW. He is the author of NIST Special Publication 800-183, which describes the concept behind such networks and characterizes them by five building blocks:
- Electronic sensors that monitor environments and physical properties.
- Aggregators that handle the data and break it down into something
- Communication channels that transmit the data.
- External utilities such as software and hardware products and services.
- Decision triggers, which create the final output.
Additionally, six elements help determine the trustworthiness of a NoT: environment, cost, geographic location, owner, device ID and snapshot in time.
Those elements and building blocks make it possible to define, measure and compare components of a network.
The network of things is not a new concept, but it is becoming increasingly important now that so many small, inexpensive, third-party devices are being connected, Voas said. The concept and vocabulary will help researchers understand how to secure large networks.
Ben Berliner is an editorial fellow at FCW. He is a 2017 graduate of Kenyon College, and has interned at the Center for Responsive Politics and at Sunlight Foundation.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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